Simply Amazing

This is my 35th year as an Amateur Radio operator, and my 10th year as a dedicated QRPer. I think the best thing about this hobby is that it just doesn’t get old. Maybe I’m the exception, rather than the rule, but my latest QSOs give me as much enjoyment and fill me with as much wonder as that very first one.

Tonight, I worked EW8DJ, Alex in Belarus on 30 Meters. Listening on 20 Meters for a bit, I heard RW6FS and LZ1QI and I hesitated to work them, as we QSOed so very recently. Sometimes I feel like they’d hear W2LJ and think, “Didn’t I just work that guy?”

But thinking about the QSO that I did have makes me pause.

New Jersey to Belarus with just 5 Watts from my radio, out my Butternut antenna, travelling a quarter way around the world to another Ham.

Think of the distances! If I got in a commercial airliner, and left right now, in about 9 or 10 hours (or more), I would arrive where my radio signal traveled practically instantaneously.

Many take this technology so much for granted, but I still find it amazing. Can you imagine what the early radio pioneers would think? Imagine Marconi, who strung miles of wire, high in the sky, just to strain to hear a whisper of a signal from Europe. Can you imagine him sitting down behind a KX3? What do you think his reaction would be at working a station in “White Russia” using a piece of aluminum 26 feet tall, using less power than an average nightlight?

I’m pretty sure that he’d be smiling from ear to ear.

The world may look at us, watch us play with our radios, and think we’re quaint, doddering old fools for bothering with antiquated technology that’s over 100 years old. I sit down and consider what’s actually happening, the distances covered considering the power used, and I am still able to appreciate the miracle that radio continues to be.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Simply Amazing”

  • Fernando, EA4BL:

    I heartedly agree, Larry.
    25 years as a ham and over 10 or more as SWL and still, every contact I make seems like a miracle to me.
    -With a Butternut, by the way.

    Best wishes, Larry. I enjoy very much all your posts here.

    73 and my condolencies for the terrible attack in Boston.
    God Bless you all.

  • Richard KWØU:

    Gracias, Fernando.

    And I agree, Larry. Sometimes I find it amazing to be talking to people halfway around the world using just a $3 wire in the attic. In a world of the Internet and jet travel (yes, 10 hours to Belarus, but compare that with speeds even 60 years ago) it might not seem like much to do this, but I’m still amazed. I am very happy to participate in this endlessly fascinating hobby, even if my brother claims all DX is just 3 guys in Brooklyn fooling us.

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